Skip to content

Improving the Odds

Developing Character in our Youth, Empathy in Your Leaders,
and Cultures of High Performance

Mission Statement

Improving the Odds is an educational initiative that enables our youth to develop the character and life skills that will Improve the Odds of them becoming thriving citizens of the world.

The underpinnings of this initiative are found in the words of these men of high character

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

- Martin Luther King Jr.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

- John R. Wooden

Why is this important?

  • Businesses are the economic backbone of cities, towns, and communities across the country, placing them at the center of systemic change. 
  • The purpose of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is to give back to the community, take part in philanthropic causes, and provide positive social value.
  • CSR must align the philanthropic efforts with priorities to respond both to the community’s needs and the business’ objectives. Two critical objectives of every business are to collaboratively develop a growing local economy and ensure the availability of a skilled workforce.
  • Skills are developed through Learning and Development that leads to the acquisition of information, knowledge, and competencies, including academic, social, emotional, and cognitive ones.
  • A skilled workforce is essential as  differentiator for competitive advantage and greatness for every organization.
  • Many of our youth today do not have the skills, or clear and consistent support structures to help them navigate everyday decisions and obstacles.
  • Improving the odds of success for young people has never been more important to corporations and the communities they serve than it is today!
  • Youth-focused, corporate citizenship initiatives, help businesses instill essential skills in members of the future workforce, effectively improving the odds of success for these individuals, adding value for the business and achieving a competitive advantage
  • Transformative Learning & Development that optimize a learner’s ability to translate specific experiences and content into generalizable knowledge, competencies, and perspectives, improve the odds that the learner will reach their full potential, prepare them to enter institutions of higher learning, and to become thriving citizens of the world. 
  • Out of school opportunities and community-based programs that enrich learning  have proven to reduce incidences of violence and crime. 
  • Development of a socially responsible program is a win-win for everyone involved. Nonprofits are receiving free time and volunteer work, while leadership and life skills are being developed by every student, teacher, staff member, volunteer, and parent who gets involved
  • Corporate citizenship can enhance the employee experience, build corporate brand value, and expand the future talent pipeline. 
  • All of which drives employee engagement, retention, productivity, increases feelings of inclusiveness and enables organizations to be recognized as a “great place to work.”


Webster’s definition:

“Character is the combination of qualities or features that distinguish one person or group from the other. It is the combined moral or ethical structure of a person or group.”

What Character Looks Like

  • It is engraved on us
  • It is built over time
  • It is tested through adversity
  • Manifests in how we think, speak, and act.

How Character is Built

  • On a solid belief in absolute truth
  • On clear values taught early or learned later
  • Under difficulty, adversity, and challenge
  • By the company we keep.
John R. Wooden

Change Can’t Wait

The Content

Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is a practical approach which empowered not only his players, but everyone who came to know him, to reinvent themselves and succeed in a hyper-competitive world.

From his first day of practice, when the players were taught the importance of putting on their athletic socks properly; to gradually absorbing the sublime wisdom of Coach Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success”; to learning to cope with the ugly racism that confronted black athletes during the turbulent Civil Rights era, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar fondly recalls how Coach Wooden’s fatherly guidance not only paved the way for his unmatched professional success but also made possible of personal fulfillment

The Delivery

Partnership with schools, foundations, and corporations, will accelerate the performance of our youth by preparing teachers, staff, business leaders, and parents to be the facilitators of the John R. Wooden Course.

The John R. Wooden Course is a series of 1 hour sessions that teach the principles of The Pyramid of Success and other Wooden Wisdom lessons. Optional components are an Individual Assessment, a 30-day self directed application process, and a 52-week eCoach reinforcement process.

The Pyramid of Success is the foundation for this educational initiative

  • On clear values taught early or learned later
  • On a solid belief in absolute truth
  • Under difficulty, adversity, and challenge
  • From role models, coaches, and teachers
  • By the company we keep

“Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable”

Seven Wooden Foundations and Fundamentals
  1. Love of wisdom as the highest form of knowledge.
  2. Care and consideration as the rule for treatment of others.
  3. Fairness in everything with everyone.
  4. Loyalty to someone and somethings.
  5. Respect for authority.
  6. Strong sense of purity and propriety.
  7. Love and balance in all things.
John Wooden’s core values included:
  • Respect for others
  • Belief in God
  • The value of learning
  • Hard work
  • Doing what’s right
  • Being positive in everything
  • Never trying to be better than someone else, but never ceasing to be the best he could be.
Coach’s Seven Point Creed

Joshua Wooden simply told his son, “Try to live your life after these things.”

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Help others.
  3. Make each day your masterpiece.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Shift in behavior begins with a shift in thinking​

Exercise or Experience

A structured experience to create an insight or “ah-ha!” moment around each essential building block of the “Pyramid of Success”


Reflection through quiet journaling to gain insight from the experience.


Sharing insights safely with a partner to clarify thoughts, then through discussion as a team, to learn from others.


Relate each concept to the culture, to organizational dysfunctions and to personal leadership and life effectiveness.

Commit to action

Personal commitments thorough a mindset shift, to change behavior. Coaching from a trusted source

People with strong character are to seen to be

  • More considerate of others
  • More giving and sharing-minded
  • Work better with others
  • Are more polite, courteous, and in-tune with their emotions
  • Are more likely to use their ability to serve the common good
  • Are more productive
  • Lead more satisfied and fulfilled lives
  • Are more effective leaders, coaches, mentors, teachers and parents

How and Where to begin

Agree to be a Partner

  • Commit time to building a relationship with a school or other educational organization
  • Recruit and select volunteers to be trained to deliver the John R. Wooden Course
  • Allocate the funds to purchase the Pyramid of Success materials and train facilitators

Plan with your Partner

  • Convene a steering committee to determine objectives and measures of success
  • Determine who will participate in the John R. Wooden Course, The Coaching, The Assessment
  • Craft an Implementation Plan

Deliver The Pyramid of Success to the Students

  • Communicate the purpose of the Course, expectations of the participants, and provide a schedule
  • Facilitate the John R. Wooden Course, The Pyramid of Success
  • Measure the results

Training Facilitators


Candidate selection

We will partner with you to select facilitator candidates. Candidates are chosen based on their standing in the business, willingness and ability to fulfil the requirements of the certification process and delivery of an agreed-upon number of sessions.



Preparation for training session #1 — We will conduct coaching calls with facilitators to assist him/her in preparing for the first training session.



We conduct 12 hours of training, usually split into 2 sessions. Between the 2 sessions, facilitator candidates are expected to spend an appropriate portion of time on practice, reflection and preparation for delivery of the sessions and coaching from a Wooden facilitator.



After the facilitator process, facilitating pairs will facilitate sessions under the guidance of a Wooden Coach who will provide feedback assisting candidates to reach the competency levels required for certification. Once certified, facilitators will be able to conduct sessions on their own.

"Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Participant Materials

A unique combination of people and tools

The John R. Wooden Course is implemented and reinforced with a unique combination of people and technology. People provide the expertise, counsel, facilitation, training, coaching and mentoring. The tools and technology provide the application of intellectual property and foundational common language, as well as online measurement and a resource center to make the process scalable and support the transfer of capability for an enterprise-wide implementation.

The Per Participant fee provides an individual license for the use of the Intellectual Property, the Core Materials and an Individual and Team Reinforcement/Measurement System. It includes:

  • The content shared in the “classroom” and in any follow-up meetings (referred to as “Core Materials”)
  • Pre-session reading material including the book Wooden-A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections Off the Court
  • Session workbook and journal
  • Symbolic reminders
  • Optional: Post-session reinforcement and eCoaching Kit-Wooden 52
  • Optional: The Individual Assessment/30-day plan


For more information please contact us below